Good to see my old comrade Terry Liddle telling us like it is in the Weekly Worker (March 8).
The Green Party has a wider framework than the traditional left and many greens think that our politics go 'beyond the left'. As an example what about the foot and mouth disaster? The left has little to say about animals or agriculture and has probably adopted most ideas straight from the green movement.
Green policy is comprehensive in dealing with the industrialisation of agriculture, the animal market and the torture of millions of animals which it represents. Many on the left couldn't give a damn about this and that is what makes such a contrast between greens and the old left. Of course the Socialist Alliance is much better and has learnt quite a bit about 'non-left' issues. The Green Party has much wider support across the country after 20 years of work - but we deserve far more. The left should have got together about 20 years ago and maybe it might have stopped the New Labour betrayal.
In Hackney we have useful discussions and joint work between the local Green Party and Socialist Alliance and we agree on a majority of issues - certainly locally in the context of the Hackney council crisis. Our Green councillors have voted against the cuts and the Green Party supports the community campaign against the daft Labour-Tory alliance which is trying to run down Hackney.
I think we need a wider dialogue between our two movements after the general election when we have seen what we both represent 'on the stump'. On the Green side we need to keep our radicalism and our anti-capitalist policies and on the SA side they need to cut out the ultimatism and the 'we are always right' attitude which puts so many radicals off joining left groups.
The general election could be an exciting time for both movements - here's to us both doing well and giving New Labour something to worry about afterwards.
Marcus Larsen reports surprise at my intention to contest West Lewisham ('A tale of two campaigns' Weekly Worker March 1).
He is not correct to suggest I will be standing as an "independent". It is my intention to stand as an Independent Labour/Green Socialist candidate. It would be inappropriate for me to undemocratically appropriate the title 'Socialist Alliance'. He is not correct to suggest I will have no linkage to the Socialist Alliance. I intend to place the arguments for a broad-based Socialist Alliance at the forefront of my intervention.
Those who have been active in the Socialist Alliance network for a number of years will be aware that the SA is made up of a diverse range of local alliances; established socialist political parties with a significant base in working class communities; important regional and local political parties, also with working class support; small ultra-left groups; and an increasing number of non-aligned individual socialists. My candidacy will be an attempt to draw in wider forces into the SA and assist those who want to see the SA adhere to its original founding aims of being both red and green.
Following our very successful Birmingham conference, where attempts to push the SA down an ultra-left blind ally were soundly defeated, and mindful of the advantage of having both a TV and radio broadcast for the SA, I would be more than content to include 'Socialist Alliance' as part of the six words than can be used for a candidate's description, if this was seen as helpful by the SA leadership. The Walsall Democratic Labour Party are also intending to include 'Socialist Alliance' in their candidate's description. It may well be the case that a number of individuals breaking from Labour and community campaigns intend to stand in the general election. Some may choose to include 'Socialist Alliance' in their title; others may not.
I would be more than happy to put my name forward in our local alliance to contest an election as a Socialist Alliance candidate once it has adopted a formal constitution ensuring openness and democracy. Or when we are a democratic, pluralist, broad-based socialist party and existing established socialist and communist parties have dissolved their organisation and branches and have put their resources and energy at the disposal of the party.
Not only will I be seeking to assist Ian Page in Deptford, but also Jean Kysow in Lewisham East. My spring offensive will be devoted to supporting our SA candidates in the borough and broadening the SA.
Dumbing downI feel there is a certain degree of snobbery in James Bull's letter ('Rebel rebel' Weekly Worker March 15).
In rejecting outright things like an ABC of Marxism, he effectively closes the paper to those who are interested, but maybe lack the knowledge to fully grasp the content. An ABC of Marxism is in practice dumbing down. In principle, however, it is a good idea. Anything which makes Marxist fundamentals easier to grasp is a good thing and can only aid in the education of new cadre.
I know many people who are very interested in the politics of Marxism. These people wish to be educated, and yet they feel instantly intimidated and disenchanted with the content of the Weekly Worker. These are potential comrades with a lot to offer, yet they will pass us by in favour of pretentious student groups like the Socialist Workers Party unless accessibility becomes the watchword of the paper.
I cite an ABC as a mere example, as the inclusion of such articles borders on the patronising. We need to keep the politics as serious as ever - Marxism is not a subject that can be dumbed down. I refuse to believe, however, that the serious articles would not be complemented by more accessible, generalised articles on the fundamentals of Marxism. Articles with those new to Marxism, those wishing to be educated, specifically in mind.
Can't be both?
Thank you so much for the information you sent me about the Communist Party of Great Britain. I now have a better understanding of the communist view. I have always classed myself as a leftwing socialist but after reading your Party manifesto, I fully agree with most of your views.
The only thing that stops me calling myself a communist is that I am a Christian and as far as I know you cannot be both. Or at least, I don't think so. I believe that the communists in the Soviet Union made themselves an enemy of god and the Christian church and for that reason I cannot bring myself to be a member of your Party.
Can't be both?
Can't be both?
Jack Conrad's report on the Welsh Socialist Alliance is wrong. He claims that "in certain quarters one can already hear whispers of a Welsh Socialist Party modelled on the SSP" (Weekly Worker March 8).
But a motion from the Merthyr branch proposing just that in January's WSA annual conference was heavily defeated, with only Cymru Goch and some non-aligned members voting for it. All the British-orientated groups - Socialist Party, Socialist Workers Party, Workers Power and the lone CPGB member - voted unanimously against any such move, confirming that they see the WSA as a regional alliance in much the same way as Merseyside or London.
So who is doing the whispering? Cymru Goch is open in its desire for a Scottish-style party - so no whispers from us. If the Weekly Worker wants to escape accusations of being the left's gossip rag, it has to do better than this.
As for Cymru Goch "sulking on the margins", our comrades were out leafleting in the name of the WSA in Ebbw Vale, Shotton and Bryngwyn while SP members were busy getting their own party literature out. Cymru Goch is rightly fucked off with this sectarian behaviour, but we're not sulking - we're just getting on with it. The WSA centrally is paralysed with sectarianism.
Ask yourself why, in contrast to the growth in England and Scotland, there are only four WSA candidates for the coming elections when there were nine constituency and four list candidates in the 1999 assembly elections. The reason is that the non-aligned members have left and all pretence at a deeper, broader alliance, as advocated by Cymru Goch, has been abandoned.
With some regret, I have to conclude that the WSA is now merely a flag of electoral convenience and is all the poorer for not developing along the Scottish model.